miss understood

We’re friends,  right?

Obviously, there’s a necessary “liberty” we accept with online friendships  because, after all, there are limits to what we can do and experience fully together. Even so, in the last few years, I’ve seen we have much in common.

So, I  wanna share one of my biggest personal struggles. I know, it’s a crazy risk.

As a public writer, there’s a certain level of insanity and self-death  that must accompany this willingness to put it all “out there” for God’s glory.  Granting access through the windows of the soul  this way invites a certain level of inspection from the reading and watching world outside.

It’s downright scary.

So scary, I almost talk myself out of it. Or argue with God– as if doing or being less accomplishes His will anyway.

You know that  vicious inner dialogue urging caution one moment and wild abandon the next?  Tempting us to believe (or imagine) a seemingly safer path? Yah.  Except, “safety”, as it’s often understood, is mostly an illusion masking the ultimate danger:

a life not fully-lived.

If the enemy can get me to believe that self-preservation is the safest way to go, I risk missing out on God’s Great Adventure inviting me to spend my mortal life– not hoard who I am and what I could offer. 

These are risks worth taking.

Miss Understood

It’s not easy you know. Because that inner dialogue… never.  shuts. up.

There’s  that cartoon thing going on where little “angel” me on one shoulder is cheering me through the madness and little “devil” me on the other side whispers, “Sit this one out. Save face. Don’t rock the boat”.

UGH. I hate that guy.

Then, when I think I’ve made it home-free: ouch!  A thorn has hitched a ride on the cuff of my bluejeans, irritating me just enough to spark that inner riot.   GAH!!!

Did I say too much?
Too little?
Maybe I should’ve said nothing at all.
Oh WHY can’t I keep my blessed mouth shut!?

Suddenly, that people-pleasing habit rises to the surface as I  fall victim to the Number One lie of all time:

“Did God really say……?”

Usually, it ‘s right after I’ve taken that BIG step into new boldness and authenticity risking my perceived reputation. Then…I read or hear something from someone I truly admire and my heart sinks into the pit of my stomach.  Suddenly,

I’m twisted up over a tweet.
Sunk by a status update.
Bludgeoned by a blog.

Because, you know there’s a hidden agenda and it’s a message about me, right?
Yuck??!?

Agonizing over what-ifs,  I begin imaginary conversations ready to engage “damage control” because clearly…I’ve been… (dom dom, dommmmmmmmm) …. misunderstood.

me miss understood

And there it is; my biggest demon, the fear of being misunderstood.

This one stinkin’ fear has caused more trouble in my lifetime.
It’s watered down my witness.
It’s taken my testimony into dark places way too often.

I despise it.

In Luke 10: 1-16, Jesus warns there’s potential to be misunderstood in our walk and witness. James 3:1-2 counsels not many of us should become “teachers” (of His word, etc) because we’re judged with greater strictness… inspection from God, self and others.  So as I teach or proclaim the Gospel as my witness… I’m welcoming this inspection.

Annnnd, let’s face it,  shall we? Not everyone is going to “like”, “retweet” or “share” what might be said or taught.

Annnnnd WOE is me if I forget I’m subject to the same Word.
God forbid if I don’t allow the Spirit to work inside my own heart FIRST. That’s a freakin’ mess…trust me.

The remedy?  Grace.
ABUNDANT grace received and applied liberally all around.
Grace is the path of deliverance.

Sadly,  (pridefully) I’m sometimes more willing to extend grace than to receive it. But it’s getting better and I’m learning.  Leaning into the fullness of my calling and the fullness of this grace while fighting back the fear of misunderstanding or being misunderstood is just about the bravest way to live of all.

I’ve experienced it a few times recently and it’s such a tremendous gift when someone neutralizes the potential for misunderstanding by coming in private because they WANT to understand and to be understood.

Far more preferable and spiritually mature than lobbing word bombs through the various “public” sites as onlookers jeer “Fight! Fight!” from the sidelines.

Annnnnnd, I’ve been dead wrong too.

Sometimes, I didn’t see it coming. Then sometimes…I’d  “accidentally-on-purpose” start a “fire” and in my haste to stomp it out and cover myself,  I only scatter embers and ignite several more fires instead .   Yeah. Times when all I had to do was “own it” but didn’t. #truestory

Accountability is key.
Gossip is not.

Voicing our fears and frustrations to someone can help sort past the emotions and help decide if there’s something we’ve missed and where more grace may be required. Or they simply reassure us that it’s all good.

Someone wise enough to recognize  there are times when our Spirits are being “checked”  as a reminder of  what it’s all about and to not only to keep others off the “pedestal”, but to stay off it ourselves.  Amen?

Gradually, accountability and  a practice of self-inspection before God has helped me choose– sometimes painfully,  to see others with the eyes of grace.  I don’t have to live in constant fear of being misunderstood, although sometimes I will be.

That’s ok.

Unfinishedness

Because Scripture says right now, no matter how close I come to understanding myself or others, it’s always going to be a few shades off from crystal clear. We simply see and understand imperfectly now. 

I can live with that.
Honestly?  So much grace has been given to me that I ought to have  plenty to share with others….and also with the girl in the mirror. Sometimes I’m really rough on that chick.

What about you?  We’re friends, right?
What trips you up and causes you to fall into the arms of Grace?  I’d love to know.

Working on simply being understood by HimLorretta signature

10 thoughts on “miss understood

  1. Fears about being misunderstood? Oh yes.. they’ve got my name on them too! Halted me more times than I care to remember. That sneaky people-approval issue rears its ugly head all the time as I seek to write real, write bold, write brave, and take a crumb of comfort from my small corner obscurity. Nobody actually reads it, right?
    I love how you ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ and open the door for us to bite the bullet, find our brave and do it afraid. Thanks, Lorretta. We owe you, friend. 🙂

    1. It’s a risky calling we have here…. I really relate to the Prophets of old who had to do the more risqué work– eating scrolls, calling fire down from heaven, running about town without a unionsuit ;), etc! We only *think* we have it rough! I think I have it good because here we are linking arms and doing it bravely TOGETHER.

  2. I am a people pleaser and do often worry if I will be misunderstood. I absolutely love your writing style. You make me smile!

    1. Bless you big, lovely heart Barbie! Thank you. I guess I finally discovered the best and most comfortable place on earth is the “God-sized Lorretta space” He has asked me to occupy. My earnest commitment to HIm is to try to keep it real and my reward has been lovelies like YOU in my life. Thanks so much.

  3. Always remember my friend, sometimes people will say they have misunderstood you only to mask a lack of courage from what you have set before them. You just keep speaking the truth. Christ Jesus will always understand you.

  4. Lorretta I struggle with the same things…especially wondering if no matter how much I’ve prayed before posting… I’ll be misunderstood. Grace finds me all the more humbled as I step out in His word and calling. Yes friend,thanks for writing this one. It’s got my name all over it.

    1. What a blessing to have Sisters in this journey. I am always so amazed (although by now, why should I be?) that God crafts in us hearts and places His Spirit within those hearts so that despite the many miles and experiences and daily life choices we make individually, we are always to find comfort and recognize Him in one another this way. I find so much comfort there. Bless you Lisha… you really do bless me.

  5. Lorretta, Your post made a good point and was entertaining as well. I’ve always admired your writing; now I admire how you are using it for God’s glory.

Welcome to the discussion!